“People hide more than money in books” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Stephanie Pearl by ©Joel Robison

Image © Joel Robison

An Interview with Stephanie

Q. What is your best memory/moment from one of your past birthdays?

A. Arriving at the forest in London. I decided to have my 21st festivities with my chosen family at a dark psychedelic trance party. We were late as I got lost on the motorway, and had faffed around with the roofbox for ages trying to get random party people to help me unlock it as scatterbrain here had forgotten the key. A little disheartened that we couldn’t bring my bean bags along, we walked along the pathways, secretly guiding us to the location with glow sticks and the occasional tealight. When I arrived, out came dozens of my friends from the trees I didn’t even know were coming. I spent the first part of the party rolling around the floor cuddling everyone in joy <3

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. I vaguely remember crying a lot on my birthdays when I was younger, before I found such a beautiful set of friends. People put me down on my day in order to build themselves up which affected me for years and made me think I didn’t deserve the attention. However I’m over it now, and appreciate myself as a person.

Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that most surprised you?

A. My hat! I never knew my auntie had such cracking taste in headgear!

Q. Is there one food or dish that you insist in eating during your birthday celebration?

A. The spiciest veggie curry one can buy. Always. With as many Tia Maria’s as possible.

Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?

A. Reflecting how far you’ve grown as a person in a year.

Q. Do you/your family/culture have any traditions/rituals/ceremonies that are performed to celebrate birthdays? What is it?

A. Not really. Christmas is a more family orientated celebration, where birthdays to me is more for celebrating with friends on the same wavelength. It is however important for my family to have a huge meal and stuff ourselves silly around our birthdays, and if you can call bad dad jokes and the unavoidable drunken (and highly embarrassing) ABBA sing-along a ritual, then be my guest.